The Indiana Pacers are currently percentage points ahead of the Sixers
in the standings. That margin means everything once the playoffs start.
Even if the Sixers win the Atlantic and are guaranteed no worse than
the #4 seed, they could still be a road team in the first round of the
playoffs if the #5 seed has a better record. A win tonight would give
the Sixers a one-game lead on Indy and a 2-0 advantage in their head
-to-head games (with 2 left to play at the end of the season). Must win.
The Pacers started the season hot, but have come back down to Earth
recently. Their record has been kept afloat by feasting on the weak
teams, but they've lost 9 straight games to teams with winning records.
Sounds a bit familiar, unfortunately. Tonight, the Sixers have a chance
to put another notch on their wins vs. winning teams belt. They have a
chance to send a message to a team they might face in the first round
of the playoffs, and perhaps most importantly, they have the chance
to test out their shiny new starting lineup against one of the better
defensive teams in the league.
The perimeter matchups should be great in this one. Jrue goes head
-to-head with the guy who pushed him off the ball in his only season
at UCLA, Darren Collison. Evan Turner faces a rangy, long defensive
wing in Paul George, and a guy who he's going to have to stick to like
glue on the perimeter on the defensive end. And Andre Iguodala gets
to lock down the guy who carried his bags for Team USA two summers
ago, Danny Granger. Those matchups, alone, are worth the price of
The interesting matchups don't stop on the perimeter, though. Elton
Brand vs. David West is a much closer contest
than you might think.
In fact, the edge probably goes to Brand, who can actually spell
defense. Neither guy has been an efficient scorer. At the five, though,
Roy Hibbert has a clear advantage. Thankfully, he's grossly underused
by the Pacers...CONTINUE READING DEPRESSED FAN